Merrill Edge is a subsidiary of Merrill Lynch Wealth Management, which was founded in 2009. Merrill Lynch Wealth Management itself is derived from Merrill Lunch & Co., which traces its roots back to 1914. Merrill Edge began in 2010 as the company's investment arm. It is based in New York City, New York. Merrill Lynch is owned by Bank of America, after a 2009 acquisition and a 2013 merger.
- Bank integration
- Client support
Merrill Edge provides resources and tools for customers to buy and trade stocks and mutual funds on an online platform. The company has sound customer service and user-friendly methods for customers to meet their investment needs and goals. The company has received recognition and accolades from Barrons, Kiplingers, J.D. Power, Institutional Investor, Stockbrokers.com, and the Customer Service Institute of America for its service and investing options. Other benefits include:
If you already are a customer of and have accounts with Bank of America, you have automatic advantages to investing with Merrill Edge. Though one doesn't need to be a Bank of America customer to invest with Merrill Edge, BOA customers do have the benefits of universals log-ins, qualifying for free trades, easy viewing and managing of all accounts simultaneously and updating contact information. Really, if you are a BOA customer, there is little reason to invest with anyone else besides Merrill Edge.
The pricing is very competitive and comparable to the competition. Some might be cheaper, but some are definitely more costly. All in all, the fees are more than fair, and you'll get a good selection of investing options for what you pay. In fact, if you compare Merrill Edge to industry heavyweights TD Ameritrade, Charles Schwab, Fidelity and ETRADE, you will note that Merrill Edge customers will pay less across the board, sometimes significantly less, depending on the type of investment.
Merrill Edge boasts very good highly rated customer support. Customers may contact the company for questions or for resolving issues both large and small via phone, email or live chat. Here's one thing you're sure to love: Merrill Edge customers can reach a customer support representative 24 hours a day, seven days a week. This is good news for you late-night, early morning or weekend traders. For those who have super-busy lives during normal working hours, this 24/7 availability is a welcome advantage. Furthermore, the customer service agents are knowledgeable, friendly, helpful and responsive. Phone support, in particular, is stellar. Merrill Edge has garnered a handful awards multiple years running from reputable sources for its customer support.
Most investors don't take a shot in the dark when choosing what to buy and sell; careful, calculated research and due diligence is needed to make an informed decision. Merrill Edge helps customers do this through sound research tools. It uses Morningstar and Lippers, a pair of well-known entities, to provide this benefit. The mutual fund research is thorough and well done. Customers can be sure that the information they receive about funds is accurate and up to date.
The education tools Merrill Lynch offers its clients is also superior. It is plainly obvious that the company takes great effort to ensure its investors are well suited to make the investment choices that suit them best. Specifically, Merrill Edge offers customers online tools and resources such as webinars, seminars, an investment dictionary, and articles and detailed information about stocks, ETFs, options, mutual funds, bonds and retirement investments.
Speaking of retirement investments, Merrill Edge isn't limited to stocks and mutual funds. Customers can trust Merrill Edge to retirement investments such as 401(k)s and IRAs, as well as education savings plans such as Coverdells and ESAs. Again, partnering with its parent company Bank of America, Merrill Lynch offers checking accounts, savings accounts, debit cards, credit cards, mortgage loans, no-fee banking and mobile check deposit.
As we live in a mobile society, Merrill Edge has embraced the mobile technology. Traders can do all their business from their smartphones and other mobile devices. With a few clicks and drags, users can buy or sell anytime, anyplace with worry-free convenience. Apps are available for iPads, iPhones and Androids. Merrill Edge also has a special mobile site for its mobile users.
Merrill Lynch tools and applications are simple to use even for the most inexperienced investors. The platform is fast and easy to understand and navigate. Yet, it is comprehensive enough to accomplish everything you need it to.
- Missing features
- Compared to competition
With just about any company or provider in any industry, it is not perfect, and there are issues to be aware of. Merrill Edge charges slightly more for stock & ETF trades at $6.95 per trade whereas some of their competitors are charging only $5 and some aren't changing anything. Not to mention, Merrill Edge also charges more for trading options than most of its competitors. Other limitations include:
Many online brokerages are beginning to offer automated features known as robo-advising. These kinds of features and tools are appealing to millennials and those that aren't as experienced in trading as others. It would be nice to know whether or not Merrill Edge is taking a step in that direction.
Compared to Competition
While the tools are helpful and largely solid the charts and graphs are not as well designed as they could be or should be. Often, they look a little amateurish and could use a fresh redesign. Also, the margin rates a little higher than is average in the industry. The overall selection of investments is more sparse than competitors. There have been complaints about a tedious trade execution process and some customers finding their accounts closed without notice. We hope these are rare cases.